Symphony of Ruin Excerpt #5

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Happy Labor Day Weekend if you’re in the states. If not, hope you have a three-day weekend soon! Here in Oregon, we’re drenched in fire, so a lot of plans have been smoked out.  All the more reason to hole up and read, in my opinion.

I’m participating in Weekend Writing Warriors again, a blog hop where writers from every genre share excerpts of 10 lines or less from their work. It’s a great way to find the next book to hole up with!

I’ve been sharing from the first chapter of Symphony of Ruin: A Labyrinth of Souls novel.  I jumped ahead a bit from the last excerpt.  Remy, an alchemist’s apprentice, and his pal Glyn are enjoying the master’s good liquor while he’s away.

Remy sank into Marek’s chair with only the slightest unease prickling the hairs on his neck. He’d never sat in Marek’s chair before. Glyn plopped down in the chair opposite with a sigh. After a moment he stuck his boots toward the fire. Remy noted the soles were more holes than leather. Bare skin showed through the worn spots.

“You have it good here, Remy,” Glyn noted.

“Eh, that’s true.” To be plucked out of the gutters by a man as important as Marek and given a position and place to sleep was unheard of luck. Remy, a filthy, flea-infested criminal had been granted a first chance at life by some accidental miracle, for surely the gods gave not one pig’s ear about his fate.

 

 

Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.

Buy on Amazon or Books2Read

The awesome artwork on the cover is by Josephe Vandel.

For more info on the Labyrinth of Souls Fiction Project visit ShadowSpinnerspress.com

To continue the hop and discover more writers sharing their work visit Weekend Writing Warriors.

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Symphony of Ruin Excerpt #4

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Welcome to my blog! I’m participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop again with another excerpt from my new release, Symphony of Ruin. Remy, an alchemist’s apprentice, and his pal Glyn are raiding the pantry for a bit of expensive liquor, in order to commemorate the passing of another friend, Abernath.

~

As Remy eased back his sleeve caught on a jutting handle and brought a little pot thudding to the tabletop. The pottery cracked. Something black and viscous oozed out.

“Ox balls,” he muttered, and clambered down from the table.

“What is that?” Glyn backed up as if a jinn might spring forth from the ooze.

“Nothing to worry about,” Remy said. He gave the scratch marks on the lid a closer look. Ox balls and a pig’s poker to boot. “Nothing to worry about immediately anyway.”

~

 

Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.

Buy on Amazon or Books2Read

The awesome artwork on the cover is by Josephe Vandel.

For more info on the Labyrinth of Souls Fiction Project visit ShadowSpinnerspress.com

To continue the hop and discover more writers sharing their work visit Weekend Writing Warriors.

 

Symphony of Ruin Weekend Writing Warriors 3

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In case you don’t know it, you’ve just stumbled across Weekend Writing Warriors, one of the best blog hops on the web.  Click the link above to discover a whole range of fun and interesting excerpts by writers of all genres.

So in my little corner of the world, something exciting happened. My book launched!  Symphony of Ruin: A Labyrinth of Souls novel is now available at a fine online retailer near you.

I’ve been sharing from the first chapter when we first meet Remy, an alchemist’s apprentice, and his friend Glyn.  Remy is in the process of raiding his master’s liquor pantry, going for the good stuff on the top shelf.

~

Remy remembered its heat coating his throat, the flavors of caramel, loam and wealth, and the comforting affect a mere sip had on his state of mind. That was what he needed now—comfort. Glyn had just brought him the news of their mate Abernath’s death. Abernath, a robust young man of seventeen years—the same age as Remy and Glyn—had been found dead in an alley the night before without a fresh mark on him.

Remy’s long fingers tweezed the decanter toward the edge of the shelf. Glyn took an audible breath, sucking air out of the room in the process, braced to flee at the first hint of disaster. Glyn would rather face death than Master Marek in a rage.

“Marek is in the Giant Mountains,” Remy assured him, voice a little pinched from the effort of stretching to his full length and a tiny bit beyond. “I’ve had no word from him for weeks. He’s not about to pop up in the middle of the night with no notice.”

Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.

Buy on Amazon or Books2Read

By the way, Symphony is available in both ebook and print, but the great Amazon machine hasn’t quite figured that out yet, so the two versions aren’t linked (last time I looked).

The awesome artwork on the cover is by Josephe Vandel.

For more info on the Labyrinth of Souls Fiction Project visit ShadowSpinnerspress.com

Symphony of Ruin Weekend Writing Warriors 2

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Symphony of Ruin releases this week, and yes, the actual date is still up in the air because of all those little things that need to fall into place in order for a book to happen, but rest assured, it will happen! There will be book! And I will certainly let you know when it happens.

That said, welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. Click on the link to visit the list and pick and choose from a bunch of cool writers who are sharing snippets of their work today. To my fellow Warriors, I’ll apologize now if I don’t comment on your post. I’ve been having issues posting on some types of blogs, like blogspot.  I’ll try to get that worked out this week.

The snippet:  Last week we joined Remy and his friend Glyn as Remy undertook a raid on his masters liquor supply.

Remy grabbed at the row of shelves to steady himself as he climbed up. The collection of bottles and jars rattled alarmingly. He paused as they settled. Nothing fell except a tuft of what looked like dried moss.

When he’d first moved in, Remy would have needed to use a footstool to reach the tabletop and he’d have to stand on the rickety table to reach Marek’s stash of quality liquor. Now if he stretched full length, he could finger the row of colored glass bottles on the top shelf while still on his knees.

Some of the bottles were filled with dyed water. He knew this because he was the one who’d drained and refilled them.   His master never noticed because Marek rarely partook of the odd offerings of beet brandy, moss wine, crabapple cider and so on that his clients sometimes paid him with. No, Marek reserved his imbibing for the good stuff in the cut crystal decanter, an amber brandy he shared with Remy on Winter’s solstice, and then only by the wee thimble full.

Release date: July 2017

Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.

For more info on the Labyrinth of Souls Fiction Project visit ShadowSpinnerspress.com

Symphony of Ruin ~ An Introduction

Let me just say, Holy Guacamole.  You know that moment when you think, oh, it’s been a while since I posted on this blog hop, I think I’ll hop on over–and then you realize it’s been three flippin’ years?  In my meager defense, I’ll point out that I haven’t been inactive. I post all the time over on the ShadowSpinners blog, but I’ve neglected my personal blog for quite some time.  Being the shameless internet marketing slut that I am, I return to Weekend Writing Warriors just in time to share about my upcoming release, Symphony of Ruin, release date: end of July.

Symphony is high fantasy, and is part of a multi-author series inspired the game and the artwork of Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls by Matt Lowes.

So here’s the opening ten lines, followed by the blurb. Hope you enjoy the snippet, and continue the hop by visiting the other writers participating today. It’s fun! You’ll like it!

The Snippet

Death made its nightly rounds of the old quarter. Skeletal toes scraped the cobblestones and bones rattled in the keening wind blowing down from the steppes. The scythe of oblivion spared no one; man, woman or child might be snatched. This alone was reason enough to raid Master Marek’s pantry and Remy could think of several others as he cleared a space on the long table against the wall. He placed one knee on the well-worn surface and tested its strength. The table wobbled only slightly on uneven legs.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” his friend Glyn asked from behind him.

“Not only is it good, it is excellent. Top notch. One of the best I’ve ever had.”

Artwork by Joseph Vandel, Cover design by Matt Lowes

Symphony of Ruin – A Labyrinth of Souls Novel  July 2017

Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the deadly challenges of the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.

 

Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday

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SFFSat logo

Hello!  Today is my first outing on Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday. I’ve been wishing for an outlet to share my sf&f fiction projects and thinking about starting a hop myself, so I was very happy to see someone else already did all the hard work. Thanks for letting me play!

Today I’m sharing the opening from my one published novel, a contemporary fantasy called Death is a Star.  Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to visit the other participants at SciFiFanSat.blogspot.com etc.

***

Death had rendered him flawless. Stretched out on the picnic table where he’d met his final reward, Hugo’s hunch dissolved, his legs straightened, and his fierce scowl relaxed into an expression of bliss. All signs of his deformity vanished along with his soul. Theda swept wisps of fine blond hair from his forehead and curled them behind his ear. He was beautiful now. It pissed her off.
Hugo had been stuck between worlds. Nothing about his twisted body proved glamorous enough to enter him into the ranks of full-fledged freaks, and yet he was too ugly and
misshapen for a normal life. He worked for the circus, toting heavy things and carting away animal debris. Longing at one moment for webbed fingers or the ability to swallow fire, and the next, for a smooth spine and strong jaw. He’d achieved none of those things while alive.
Theda hoped the gods were happy. She hoped Hugo was happy, and that he’d taken his newfound perfection with him into the nether world. The blood seeping through his white dress shirt marred the effect. She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to her sister.

***

Available where all fine eBooks are sold!

Available where all fine eBooks are sold!

Buy Link to Amazon.com

Blurb:

A contemporary fantasy featuring time travelling Assyrian sisters, a circus in hiding, a body-snatching Demon seeking self-actualization, and heroic elephants.

Theda wants only to get home to Nineveh, but her sister Irene believes controlling the demon and exploiting his unlimited power is the way to go. Theda must come to grips with her own role in this black magic mix-up and risk her bond with home, family, her beloved elephants and life itself in order to stop an ancient evil from being unleashed upon an unsuspecting modern world.

 

The Longest Night ~ Flash Fiction

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To celebrate the season and to make up for my long (very, very long) neglect of this  blog, I decided to offer up a little story I wrote a few years back about Christmas in space. It was supposed to be under 1,000 words but I never quite managed it. However, it’s still short and sweet and might help get you in the mood if, like me, you’re feeling a tad grinchy.

Enjoy!

The Longest Night

By

Christina Lay

At midnight, we sat down for breakfast. Despite eternal darkness and round the clock shifts, I couldn’t get used to it.  Think of it as second noon, I told myself, to no avail.  I was tired and I wanted to sleep, but the night was only beginning.  The sun wouldn’t be up for, oh, let’s see, five months?

I slept, I ate, I worked, I watched videos, I slept.  Without the rise and fall of the sun, my life melded into one seamless pattern of motion, non-motion, do, not do. I didn’t feel alive, much less like celebrating.

“Do you know what day it is?” Marissa asked, oblivious to the irony, and also forgetting she’d asked me this question, albeit with slight modifications, about a dozen times.

“It’s not day, it’s night,” I said, feeling mulish and out of sorts.  She made a raspberry noise with her lips.  Do you have any idea how annoying this is to hear every night for two weeks? I wanted to grab her lips with all of my fingers and squish them into a lip taco.

“Winter Solstice,” she said, beaming.

“The shortest day of the year?  Do you know how much that cheers my heart?”

“It’s the beginning of the new year, Tweedle Dum,” she said, snitching a baco-stick from my plate and popping it in her mouth.  And to think I used to find her attractive.

“Only 250 days until sunrise,” Jarvis said from his end of the table. He was pissed too. I was starting to get an inkling the shrinks had underestimated the long term effects of sunlight deprivation.

Sure we had all the happy lights and bird song and videos of sunny places and sunrise simulators and starry night stickers above our bunks. Sure none of it helped. Not any more. They’d warned me to stop looking at my earth time display. I couldn’t help it.  I was addicted to the mere thought of night and day, the vague idea that somewhere, the sun was rising.

“I made cookies,” Marissa said, and Jarvis and I stared at her like she was insane.  Maybe she was. Isn’t it always the smiling ones who go first?

“What . . ?” I struggled with the question.  I used to say ‘what on earth?” but that had become so far removed from our reality that it felt stupid.  “What did you use to make cookies?” I managed to ask.  Jarvis actually looked up from his plate, concern pulling his eyebrows together.

“You guys act like I said I’d made a hydrogen bomb, for chrissakes,” Marissa snapped, her cheery outlook slipping.  “There’s bread mix. There’s chocolate and sugar substitutes. It’s really not a big deal.”

“How did you cook them?” I asked, intrigued. Her smile came back and she pushed away from the table, stood up, and walked to the other end of the galley.

“I took a piece of metal sheeting–”

“From our roofing supplies,” Jarvis snapped.

“And a couple of the back-up happy lamps, like so.” She pulled the items out of a cabinet.  Jarvis and I shot out of our chairs to investigate.  Proudly, Marissa pulled back light aluminum from a flat roofing sheet.  We stared down at blackened bread mix shaped into lumpy checker-sized clumps.

“That’s swell, Marissa,” Jarvis said, and we exchanged a look laden with fear.  Suddenly, we didn’t feel so lucky to not be out with the rest of the crew, checking on the sensor array.

“I blended water with calcium powder to replicate milk,” she said, oblivious to our horror.

A loud thump on the outside of the dome distracted all of us.  The cookie sheet clattered to the counter.

“What the hell was that?” we three asked simultaneously.

“Check the blipper,” I said, but Jarvis was already there.

“Nothing,” he reported.

Three more bangs.  This time more localized, as if something large hit against the exterior doors over and over.

“It sounds like . . .”

“What?” I snapped at Jarvis, who looked at Marissa, who looked at me.

“Like someone’s knocking,” she said.

“That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard you say and that’s saying a lot,” I said.

“I’m just saying-”

“Well, don’t.”  I marched over to the console and double-checked all the readings.  Nothing out of the ordinary on the comp-cam.

We ran through possibilities while the banging continued, or at least Jarvis and I did.  Marissa seemed to have gone off the deep end, merely staring at the doors.  We ignored her and this gave her the opportunity to lose her mind completely.  She’d initiated the opening sequence before we realized.

“What the hell-!” I shouted.

A shape stumbled in, a person shape.

“-are you doing?” I finished more quietly.

“It’s a . . .”

“Man.”

From out of the frozen, poisonous waste that was our home, a human being stumbled in.  Or what looked human, because no oxygen breathing life form could survive outside for more than a minute, and we’d detected no vehicle, no ship, nothing.

It wore a long, burgundy tarp with a synthetic fur trim, a hood over its head, a thin and scraggly beard hanging down its front.  It slumped in and threw a bag on the floor, then fell into a chair.  It pushed back the hood, and still looking every bit like a terran man, it rubbed its face.

“Man, it’s been a long night,” he said, looking at us for the first time.

“So, Jarvis,” I said, turning to my co-worker, “I seem to be hallucinating.  What do you think Marissa put in those cookies?”

“You didn’t even eat any!” she yelled, then went back to staring at my hallucination and chewing her thumbnail.

“Sorry, Mac, I see it too.”

“So where are the freakin’ cookies?” the man asked, squinting at our bright lights.

“What?”

“The cookies.  You think I came all this way to bring your naughty ass a present?”

Marissa nearly fell over getting the sheet of jaw breakers.  She slapped them down in front of him and whispered, “There’s milk too.”

He looked with baleful eyes at her offering. “Christ,” he muttered.

“Hey,” Jarvis stammered, “She worked hard on those.”

“I know.  Why do you think I’m here? My reindeer will all need reshodding after this.”  He glumly lifted a cookie and bit into it.  We all winced at what sounded like teeth cracking. As he chewed, I realized I stood slack-jawed and useless while some sort of alien entity had his way with our cookies, with our station.  It might be mind control.  I couldn’t think.  I watched him finish the entire cookie, then slurp from a tube of milky water.

He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and belched. “Worst cookie I ever ate,” he announced.  “Before I forget,” he leaned over and dug through his bag.  “Here you go sweetheart, knock yourself out.”  He handed Marissa a flat package, wrapped in shiny gold paper. It even had a bow on it, though crushed.  “You’re my last stop. Thank you folks, it’s been real.”  With that he slung his bag over his shoulder and left, through our impenetrable, computer locked and laser sealed doors.

My earth-time watch clicked off a second, and another.

“What just happened?” I asked.

“Open it!” Jarvis exclaimed, excited as a boy.

“No, it’s not safe,” I heard myself mutter.

Marissa pressed the package to her chest.  “I think I’ll save it for morning,” she said.

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